In an age of Tinder romances, riddled by commitment phobia, we have a story that will tug at your heartstrings. For Indian cricketer Hanuma Vihari and fashion designer Preethi Raj, life is a dream come true. The duo, who got engaged a couple of weeks ago in a grand ceremony in Hyderabad, did not shy away from sharing their tale of love.
Jab they met!
Telling us about how their love story began, Preethi reveals, “I’ve known Vihari for over seven years! We first met through common friends. We would be cordial with each other and stuck to the regular ‘Hi’ and ‘Hello’. He came across as a serious person, so I initially thought let’s see how it goes. But later, we got to know each other well. We don’t know exactly when it started, but we eased into it.”
Who made the first move?
Apparently, it was Vihari who proposed first! “I took her out for a candlelight dinner and proposed to her! I gave her a ring and said that I wanted to marry her. I am glad that she accepted me and since then being in love has been blissful,” explains Vihari, adding, “All this while, we have been waiting for the right time. After she came back from Sweden last year in December, we decided to take our relationship to the next level. We got our respective parents’ approval too.”
Preethi blushes, “I wasn’t surprised when he proposed to me because I felt the same too. I was glad that he wanted to take our relationship to the next level.”
Talking about the engagement stress, Vihari says, “It’s upbeat for me, stressful for her (smiles). She is the worrier because she is more concerned with timelines. What I like best about her is the way she accepts things.”
While the date and the venue for their impending marriage is yet to be fixed (may be after the IPL next year), the couple gifted each other some of their favourite stuff for their engagement. “We still can’t believe that we’ve got engaged; it is yet to sink in because we have been waiting for this since a long time. I gifted her an iPhone and she gifted me a watch,” says Vihari. Preethi smiles and adds, “I am into fashion, and he’s more into brands and is obsessed about cars. I am obsessed about iPhones and told him that he should gift me one whenever there’s a new iPhone in the market.”
Playing for Team India!
Vihari recently made his test debut against England and he says that the experience of playing at the highest level was completely different. “When Virat Kohli handed over the cap to me on my debut, it was a dream moment. It meant a lot to me. The dressing room atmosphere was amazing and all the seniors gave me a warm welcome. The level of intensity was very high. Initially, I was struggling a bit, but Virat guided me on how to adjust to the conditions. I am now looking forward to the Australia and New Zealand tour,” explains Vihari.
But interestingly, Vihari was surprised to learn that Preethi didn’t know anything about cricket. Reveals Preethi, “Vihari said, ‘what kind of girlfriend are you, that you don’t know anything about cricket?!’ But I am slowly getting to know the sport. When I watched him for the first time on screen, I was really pleased because that had been his dream. I know how hard he has worked to get there. The best thing I like about him is that he is very composed under pressure in any situation.”
A special celebration
The couple is in Hyderabad to ring in their first Diwali, and Vihari says that the festival of lights is all about family. “Sometimes I may be away from home playing, but for this Diwali, I will be at home. We both are here at my place to celebrate the festival, and we believe in a green Diwali. I have great memories of Diwali, and I believe the spirit of the festival lies in spending time together with family.” Preethi further adds, “This is our first Diwali together; it is very special. We are very traditional and much of our celebrations centre around pujas and spending time with our dear ones.”